We still don’t know what kind of Attoney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will be.
Will it be the Jeff Sessions who called Dodd-Frank “an overreach,” joining with his billionaire Cabinet colleagues to go easy on Wall Street-types? Or will it be Jeff Sessions, former prosecutor and Tea Party hero, who voted to tell high finance to drop dead during the financial crisis and who told Wall Street, “We love you, but we’re going to be representing Americans by the millions?”
The Royal Bank of Scotland, living up to the Scots’ national reputation for pessimism, seems to be betting on the latter. Having failed to put this “legacy litigation issue” behind it with the outgoing and overeager Obama Justice Department, RBS is trying to calculate just how friendly Sessions might be to finance. It’s not a pretty calculation.
The Royal Bank of Scotland said on Thursday that it would set aside an additional $3.8 billion in its fourth quarter for investigations and litigation in the United States….
Including the latest provision, R.B.S. has set aside 6.7 billion pounds, or about $8.4 billion, for inquiries and litigation related to the sale of such securities in the United States.
For comparison purposes, that’s $1.2 billion more than Deutsche Bank got off paying last month. And remember: Justice first asked DB to pony up essentially its entire market cap. RBS is currently worth something like $35 billion. Maybe Sessions goes for a big splash by topping BofA’s $16.65 billion deal. If the Mexicans won’t pay for the Wall, maybe the Scots will.